DOE bungled class size, sez UFT - Union blames city for squandering a chance to make positive change

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The city Department of Education (DOE) squandered an opportunity to reduce class size, according to the teachers’ union.

The United Federation of Teachers (UFT) released a report criticizing educrats for the way they spent nearly $153 million in state funding meant to lower class size.

The funding was provided as part of a system called Contracts for Excellence. It is linked to the decision in the Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE) lawsuit, which deemed city schools historically underfunded and ordered the state to allocate billions of dollars to provide New York City students with a “sound basic education.”

By tying the funding to the Contracts for Excellence, state officials believed they could ensure that the money would be spent on specific measures, like reducing class size.

But the UFT says nearly half of the 390 elementary and middle schools that received this funding did not lower class sizes.

“While the DOE paid lip service to these legal commitments, its class size reduction plan failed to adopt specific goals and thereby failed to meet the legislators’ and the governor’s intent because the DOE had different spending priorities,” said Randi Weingarten, president of the UFT.

The UFT says many schools that received Contracts for Excellence funding actually increased class sizes.

“This report confirms what parents have long suspected

Updated 3:47 pm, October 19, 2011
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